Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Beetle Wing Embroidery Project Underway


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I finally took the plunge and started to put together a practice embroidery project that will include beetle wings and goldwork. I’m pretty excited about it, so I thought I’d show you the beginning of the project in photos.

I’m afraid you won’t see any goldwork or other embroidery actually worked yet! Instead, I’ll just chronicle how I’m starting out, and then I’ll give you updates as I go.

Beetle Wing Embroidery Project

I started by considering the type of fabric I wanted to work on. I have an upcoming project that I was considering working on velvet or cotton velveteen, so I thought this would make a good opportunity to practice a bit working on velveteen, just to get comfortable with it. It’s not the most luxurious fabric – I’d rather be working on silk velvet, and perhaps for something grander, I will. But in the meantime, I didn’t want to buy stuff I didn’t have on hand or make an investment in fabric for a practice piece.

The design was conceived on a paper towel while I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea and doodling. I liked the paper towel scrawls, so I snatched a piece of paper and the bag of wings, and I laid out the wings in the general pattern so that I could see what size the pattern should be overall. Then I just sketched around them with a pencil, and, when I got to where I liked it ok, I drew over it with a black pen.

Beetle Wing Embroidery Project

My next step was to pick out three wings that were relatively consistent in color and size. They look good on the red velvet! (At least, I think they do!)

Then I framed up my fabric.

Beetle Wing Embroidery Project

I tacked the fabric to 8″ x 10″ stretcher bar frames. I do love those frames! They are a quick way to frame up a project squarely and securely.

Beetle Wing Embroidery Project

You can see here the back of the project. I’m probably going to grumble a bit over the raw edges, which will surely shed little bits of red all over the place. I could take care of that and brush the edges with fray check to prevent future frustration!

Notice that the back of the project looks white – that’s because I’ve lined the velveteen with muslin to provide support for the goldwork. I’m not planning on a lot of goldwork, but I do like a double layer when working with metal threads.

The pattern will include a couple kinds of gold, beetle wings, and some beads, though I haven’t figured what kind of beads yet. I was thinking something like pearls would look nice and rich, but I may find some darker specialty beads that will go along with the wings. We’ll see.

I don’t plan on this project taking very long – but my hobby plans and the rest of my life do not always coincide, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

Any suggestions for beads?

I’ll keep you posted on progress!


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(6) Comments

  1. Not beads – but antique sequins.

    Do you know “AllWildJewels”, the seller on ebay? (The seller’s name is
    wildness4u). I’m not going to put a link in here.

    I’m going to get the black French patent leather sequins for my current project.

    She does have a small range of rather special beads as well and some gold platelet thingys that I think might be useful in goldwork.

    (No affiliation – I just really like the store. I dribble a lot when I’m there)

  2. Aha! Thanks for the tip!! I shall look her up! I’ve progressed farther than I thought I would last night. I altered the design quite a bit, and even got stems and one leafy-paisley thing finished. So I’m excited about the project, and can’t wait to find some accents that are “just right”!

    Thanks again!

  3. This is Fascinating!! I’ll watch this one all the way – I don’t embroider but may have to take it up…..your work is an inspiration!

  4. Thanks for the other link, Elmsley Rose!

    And thank you for the compliment, m. gutmann – I hope to get more pictures up of this project soon!

  5. Thanks for the other link, Elmsley Rose!

    And thank you for the compliment, m. gutmann – I hope to get more pictures up of this project soon!

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